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Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town

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DIRTY OLD TOWN


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GUEST,Griff 13 Aug 02 - 05:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Aug 02 - 06:11 PM
Ed. 13 Aug 02 - 06:22 PM
Mr Red 13 Aug 02 - 07:45 PM
Llanfair 14 Aug 02 - 06:57 AM
Teribus 14 Aug 02 - 08:35 AM
Jim McLean 14 Aug 02 - 10:38 AM
Susanne (skw) 14 Aug 02 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Griff 14 Aug 02 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,GUESTMalloy 14 Aug 02 - 06:19 PM
Raggytash 14 Aug 02 - 06:33 PM
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Subject: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: GUEST,Griff
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 05:58 PM

Does anyone know exactly what the last word of the first line of Ewan McColl's 'Dirty Old Town' is? I see that in the Mudcat songs pages they have put; 'I met my love by the gas works croft falls' !!?? Well it's definitely not that anyway. However, when asking around and trawling the internet for the definitive lyric I have only come up with even more interpretations such as; 'cross' or 'cry'. I have a couple of different versions of it on CD and from what I can make out it sounds like 'cross' which at least would make sense, in the sense that it's short for 'crossroads'. Can anyone help?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 06:11 PM

"by the gasworks' wall" is how I've always known it, since that's the way people tend to sing it, since it scans naturally that way. I can't actually remember listening to a record of it, though I suppose I must have. But I'm pretty sure that when I heard Ewan MacColl singing it live, it was just "gasworks' wall."

And a gasworks was the factory where they they used to turn coal into household gas, and very smelly they were too. So if they took a deep breath and got used to the smell, I suppose the vicinity might have been a handy enough place for a couple wanting a bit of solitude together.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 06:22 PM

According to the Ewan MacColl songbook it's:

I found my love by the gasworks croft

See this thread

Ed


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 07:45 PM

I always knew it as Gaswork's croft and factory wall but that was Aural tradition.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Llanfair
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 06:57 AM

A croft is a piece of rough ground in a city, usually with paths running diagonally as it is used as a short cut.

Rosebay willow herb, buttercups and other wildflowes tend to colonise them, and grow through the old bedsteads and bent bicycle wheels that get dumped there.

Children play there, and, at night, lovers can find a little privacy away from the bright street lights........

It's indisputably "gasworks croft"

Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Teribus
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 08:35 AM

I've always known it as:

I met my love by the gas works croft
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by factory wall
Dirty old town, dirty old town.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 10:38 AM

Llanfair is correct. Dirty old Town was published by Robbins Music Ltd in 1956. The 'I' is only used in the first line of each verse (except the last where 'we're' is used. Cheers, Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 03:48 PM

Ed's line is precisely what MacColl sings on 'Black and White', so everything else is poetic (or not so poetic) licence.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: GUEST,Griff
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 05:19 PM

Aaaaah, suddenly the light has dawned. Thanks for all the answers guys. Particularly, thanks to Llanfair for the definition of 'croft' as used in the song. I'm from Scotland so I couldn't get my head around the idea of a croft (as I understand it)being next to a gas works. Is that definition of croft just Northern English slang or is that meaning of the word used throughout Southern Britain?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: GUEST,GUESTMalloy
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 06:19 PM

I have always heard it as "gasworks wall" as well. This has also been reproduced by the Pogues and they sing it as "gasworks wall." --Malloy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: First line of Dirty Old Town
From: Raggytash
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 06:33 PM

Hailing from Salford,the town that Jimmy Miller refers to in his song, a croft is any little bit of municipal land set aside for recreation. normally football was played there, british bulldog etc, it was often the site of the communial bonfire and sadly some people "exercised" their dogs there which made football and rugby a unpleasant experience at times


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